We have liftoff! NASA’s Psyche spacecraft, along with the agency’s DSOC (Deep Space Optical Communications) technology demonstration, launched from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 10:19 a.m. EDT.
The Falcon Heavy’s 27 Merlin engines are generating more than 5,000,000 pounds of thrust, quickly pushing the vehicle through the atmosphere and away from the Florida spaceport. The Falcon Heavy first stage consists of three Falcon 9 boosters strapped together – two sides and a central booster. An upper second stage atop the central booster carries the Psyche spacecraft.
SpaceX will land the side boosters in about eight minutes at Landing Zones 1 and 2 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, nearby Kennedy.
Coming up next, the launch vehicle will reach Max Q, or moment of peak mechanical stress on rocket, followed by booster engine cutoff just over a minute later.